New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, The NHL’s all-time leader in wins (658) and games (1,193, and counting) already has two gold medals for team Canada under his pads. But at 41 he’s thinking he has enough left in the tank for one more.
“I’d love to,” he told WSJ.com. “For me, playing in the Olympics was the greatest thing in my life.”
Of course, with an abbreviated season still to play, the future hall of famer says he’s not even thinking about the Sochi Games just yet, and hopes that if the NHL allows their stars to play for gold next year, he’ll be good enough just to make the team.
Brodeur was knocked out of the No. 1 goaltender spot for Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo in at the 2010 Games, and will have to contend with Montreal’s Carey Price and the Hurricanes’ Cam Ward and the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury to make his fourth Olympic squad
“If I’m asked to go, regardless of the spot I’ll be in, I’ll take the invitation. I’ll do anything for my country.”
Regardless of what NHL commish Gary Bettman and everyone else agrees on, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis said he’ll definitely let his Russian star, Alex Ovechkin, compete in Sochi next year.
“I’m going to let him go,” Leonsis told the Washington Post. “I just think it’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing for him to have something played in Russia. He’s going to be a torchbearer and it’s very important to him and his family. Who am I to get in the way of him wanting to fulfill that?”
However, Leonsis admitted it was a “slippery slope” since he has a team of top players from around the world who want to compete for their home nations.
“We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it,” added Leonsis, who considers the NHL a player’s league. “But I think that I’m going to lean to the side of the players in that one.”
Let’s hope the rest of the owners follow suit.
NHL hockey is back, but whether or not the pros will be in Sochi next winter is still up in the air. The players – particularly Russian stars Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin – want to play, but league commissioner Gary Bettman thinks it’s a disruptive waste of time, money, and resources.
Despite a 113-day lockout of more marathon sessions than you can count, the Olympics weren’t discussed. So now it’s up to IIHF President and IOC member Rene Fasel to come to the table and work out a deal to which everyone can agree.
“Once the CBA is ratified and there has been some cooling-down period, we will sit together with the IOC, the NHL, and NHLPA to find solutions how to make sure that Sochi 2014 becomes the fifth consecutive best-on-best Olympic event,” Fassel told the G&M.
“As I have always pointed [out] whenever asked questions about NHL players’ participation, our doors are always open and I am confident that we will find ways — like we did in Nagano, Salt Lake City, Turin and Vancouver — to stage this event on the biggest sporting stage there is.”
Which is all well and good from a PR standpoint, but the Olympics are thirteen months away.
Apparently the NHL is looking to profit from the discussions with the IIHF, and will request everything from ticket access and better hotels, to sponsor recognition, and a loosening of the strict IOC video and media guidelines. And unlike the recent lockout discussions, the league seems to be holding most of the cards.
Negotiations should start at some point within the next few weeks. Until then: hockey!